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Kia Rio Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Kia Rio Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

will share our research around the transmissions used in its four generations so far. Kia Rio is one of the reliable cars with an affordable cost available in the market. All car lovers who want to go far and wide with consuming low fuel latch onto it. Against this backdrop, we will share our research around the transmissions used in its four generations so far. So, let’s dive straight into it.

The first generation (1999–2005) has a 4-speed F4A-EL automatic and 5-speed manual transmission. Between 2005 and 2011, it has a 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual. The 2011–2017 generation has a 4- or 6-speed automatic and a 5- or 6-speed manual. Meanwhile, the 2017–Present has a 4- or 6-speed automatic and a 5- or 6-speed manual with a 7-speed DCT.

With the introductory explanation above, we will dive deep into it below and cover several aspects of transmissions. We will explore the different transmissions that reside in its four generations. Moreover, we will understand the cost of replacing them and how long they perform. In the end, we will go through the problems that commonly pop up during their lifetime. So, here we begin.

What Transmissions Has The Kia Rio Used?

During its evolution, Kia Rio has leveraged 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7-speed transmissions. Here we highlight each transmission used from its first generation through the fourth generation.   

First-Generation (1999–2005)

  • 5-speed manual
  • 4-speed F4A-EL automatic

Second-Generation (2005–2011)

  • 4-speed A4AF3 automatic
  • 5-speed manual

Third-Generation (2011–2017)

  • 4-speed A4CF1 automatic
  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed A6GF1 automatic
  • 6-speed M6CF1 manual

Fourth-Generation (2017–Present)

  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed manual
  • 4-speed A4AF3 automatic
  • 6-speed A6GF1 automatic
  • 7-speed D7GF1 DCT


How Long Does A Kia Rio Transmission Last?

Essentially, how many miles the transmission of a Kia Rio can last is contingent on the type of transmission that goes inside your car. That said, most Kia Rio transmissions usually last for 200,000 miles. Meanwhile, you require to change the fluid at some point to obtain the given mileage. It is essential to note here that the indication of transmission wearing out is found by two signifiers. They are the burning smells and fluid leaks.

How Much Does A Kia Rio Transmission Cost?

It is understandable to discover the costs of several transmissions when one wants to replace them. For this reason, we have highlighted them below that are used in the production span of the Kia Rio. The costs we noted down below are taken from online retailers.

  • 4-speed F4A-EL automatic: $1,795
  • 4-speed A4AF3 automatic: $1,795
  • 4-speed A4CF1 automatic: $2,499
  • 6-speed A6GF1 automatic: $2,599
  • 6-speed M6CF1 manual: $1,926
  • 4-speed A4AF3 automatic: $2,069
  • 6-speed A6GF1 automatic: $2,599
  • 7-speed D7GF1 DCT: $4,000


Common Kia Rio Transmission Problems

Like anything else, transmissions belonging to Kia Rio also contain a few problems that pop up on and off during their lifetime. So, here we find out a few common issues related to the transmissions of Kia Rio.


Here we see a few common problems concerning F4A-EL.

  1. Kia Rio with an F4A-EL transmission usually has low line pressure, harsh shifts, high line pressure, and the absence of cooler flow.
  2. These problems can several times get precipitated by a worn valve body bore at the pressure regulator valve.
  3. F4AEL needs to use high-quality oil for the automatic gearbox. Otherwise, the transmission oil slowly gets contaminated and loses some of its properties in the process of exploitation.
  4. Additionally, solenoids soon can also get damaged during using low-quality lubricants. As a consequence, it leads to a long and careful repair of the automatic transmission F4AEL. Therefore, the manufacturer recommends changing the oil regularly.
  5. The issue with the electronics is the familiar collapse of this modified automatic gearbox. In the operation of the electronics, it is vulnerable to heavy loads, which paves the way to continual overheating.


  1. It causes problems with the brake band and clutch of the Kia Rio. Besides that, neglecting oil replacement in the automatic transmission can cause problems with the solenoids after 80 kilometers.
  2. It is imperative to carry out costly and time-consuming repairs plus periodic oil change to avoid such problems.


  1. It causes issues with the clutch of Kia Rio, which gets changed during vital repairs. Moreover, gaskets and seals can break down. In such an instance, special repair kits that make it convenient to remove the existing problems must be used.
  2. Often, these modified transmissions suffer from problems with the electrician.


  1. When you have 60 thousand of the mileage, you will require a complete change of oil of Kia Rio. Otherwise, it gets dirty by metallic and friction dust. As a result, it can cause the valve body to work improperly.
  2. Next 50-60 thousand, you can confront problems with solenoids and thus need to change them.
  3. Insufficient oil pressure in several cases opens the way to the burning of friction elements with overdrive and underdrive discs. It is precipitated by problems with the valve body or leaks of ATF through rings, joining edges. As a consequence, it wears out solenoid valves.
  4. Often, drivers ignore the given problem. For this reason, it results in the replacement of all friction clutches and steel discs that operated in burnt ATF.


  1. One of the most well-known complaints that drivers of Kia Rio often register is hesitant operation. Such hesitation is felt while traveling at low speeds or when pulling away from a stop.
  2. It is also prone to clutch shudder. It often causes when shifting from one lower gear to another.
  3. Overheating and other performance problems can also occur when the oil isn’t changed regularly.
  4. Sometimes, the vehicle does not start even when it is in a park or neutral because of communication breakdowns between the switch and the vehicle’s powertrain control module.


Differences Between Transmissions

  • The F4A-EL is a 4-speed automatic transmission. It weighs approximately 100 pounds without transmission fluid.
  • The A4AF3 is a 4-speed automatic transmission. It weighs about 100 pounds without transmission fluid.
  • The A4CF1 is a 4-speed automatic transmission. It weighs around 162.9 pounds without transmission fluid.
  • The A6GF1 is a 6-speed automatic transmission. It weighs approximately 167.3 pounds without transmission fluid.
  • The D7GF1 is a 7-speed automatic transmission. It weighs around 156.1 lb pounds without transmission fluid.

Transmission Fluids And The Kia Rio

Only the proper care ensures the long-lasting of transmissions belonging to Kia Rio. As a general rule, be that as it may, it is advisable to change the transmission fluid of your Kia Rio every 30,000-60,000 miles. Notwithstanding, the type of transmission fluid will depend on the type of transmission. Here we outlined an overview of the TFs recommended for each transmission:

F4A-EL / A4AF3 / A4CF1 / A6GF1 / A4AF3 / A6GF1 / M6CF1 / D7GF1: Dexron VI


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